Premade / off-the-shelf / ready-to-ship diamond pendants vs. selecting your own diamond? The latter is a far better deal, with one exception: if you need the diamond pendant fast. Otherwise, choose your own diamond and save tons. I show you how in this article.
Not in a huge hurry? Then choose your own diamond for a pendant, not a pre-made pendant. Here’s why:
Unless you’re in a huge hurry, don’t buy an off-the-shelf or ready-to-ship diamond pendant. Especially not from a brick-and-mortar store. But not even from the champs of online diamond retailers. I mean James Allen or Blue Nile. Even their off-the-shelf diamond pendants are priced higher, for less good diamonds, than choosing a diamond yourself. And I mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars higher.
Off-the-shelf diamond pendants can ship very fast (sometimes in a couple of days) vs. choosing a diamond yourself from a store’s inventory of loose diamonds. That’s the off-the-shelf, premade diamond pendants’ only advantage over choose-your-diamond pendants, which often take 2 or more weeks to arrive.
You’ll save tons of money by selecting the diamond for your pendant yourself at James Allen. Meaning: unless you’re in a huge hurry, don’t just choose one off the shelf. Choose a loose diamond and add it to your pendant. Do this at James Allen. Or even at Blue Nile. But in my experience, James Allen vs. Blue Nile usually has slightly better prices.
$4,660 for a decent diamond pendant? Or $1,850 for a certified, objectively much better one? I’ll lay it all out in this blog article. Exactly how.
It’s not rocket science. But you have to know how to search and filter diamonds with some skill. Instead of paying $4,660 or so for a half-decent diamond, you’ll pay $1,850 or so for a much better one.
Sounds crazy. Sounds hyped. Sounds tricky or faked. It’s not crazy. It’s not hyped. Or fake. It’s real. Screen shots in this article and diamond certificates prove it. I show all the clear evidence in this very blog article.
Will take you maybe 5 minutes to read this. You could save $4,660 – $1,850 = $2,810 or so. Easy. That means you’re earning up to $562 per minute just by reading this article.
That’s real money. Means you’ll have up to $2,810 extra to spend on her (or him, or them). Or it means you’ll be able to afford the diamond pendant you want. Mostly it means you’ll (no hype) get an objectively better diamond for thousands of dollars less. Let’s do this.
In my last blog article on buying a 1-carat diamond pendant, I showed you how to save at least $2,000 off the price of an off-the-shelf diamond pendant.
Now I’ll show you how to save even more by choosing your own diamond.
First, your handy reference for Clarity and Color:
When you’re new to shopping for diamonds, or when you’re rusty, it’s easy to forget what the different Clarity and Color grades / scores mean. So use this as a handy reference throughout this article:
Clarity grades / scores
Color grades / scores
Before I show you how to save thousands and get an objectively better diamond pendant by selecting them yourself, let’s look at some baseline prices for off-the-shelf / ready-to-ship 1-carat diamond pendants. (btw, Each pic takes you to a product page. If you’re in a hurry, get the lab-created one from James Allen for $2,580. Lab created diamonds are 100% identical, authentic, exactly the same as earth-created diamonds.)
Why are there few or No diamond grading reports / certificates on ready-to-ship diamond pendants!?
Diamonds on ready-to-ship diamond pendants seem usually not to come with a grading report / certificate from the GIA, IGI, or AGS.
I’m using squirrelly language (“seem”) here because I want to cover myself morally and legally. I’m 99% sure, based even on chats with reps who confirmed it, that no such grading reports exist for the diamonds in most ready-to-ship pendants.
That’s not unusual for off-the-shelf or ready-to-ship or ready-to-take-home-from-the-brick-and-mortar-store diamond jewelry.
It’s not even avoidable, given the market for such jewelry. Because here’s the thing:
- Vast majority of people buying such jewelry don’t even know to ask for a diamond certificate.
- Diamond certificates cost money. Stores have to pay the GIA, IGI, or AGS to grade their diamonds. The grading must be done by a trained gemologist. It adds to the cost of a diamond.
- All diamond retailers are in a vicious competition for growth.
- Since it’s widespread practice to sell these diamonds without diamond certificates / grading reports, any retailer would be at a big disadvantage to supply them with every ready-to-ship pendant. Their prices would be higher.
- Most people who know the importance of a diamond certificate prefer to choose their own specific diamond anyway.
- So there’s little to zero motivation to supply diamond grading reports / certificates for ready-to-ship diamond jewelry. Even for even a great, reputable, industry-disruptive diamond retailer such as a James Allen or a Blue Nile.
What do the Clarity and Color “grades” mean, if there are no grading reports??
Well, they should be taken with a grain of salt. I was told (and I believe, but I can’t prove) that diamonds in off-the-shelf / ready-to-ship pendants and rings are hand-selected by experienced staff memebers based on general appearance. That means: These “grades” are not from a trained gemologist.
Is that an important distinction?
It depends on how experienced and accurate the (non-trained, non-gemologist?) is who makes the selection.
Very likely, at a highly reputable retailer such as James Allen, Blue Nile, and others, you can probably trust that they’re generally getting it right.
And even trained gemologists have different opinions and different standards. There is no end to arguments about which grading lab is better: GIA, IGI, AGS … etc.
That’s all kind of in the weeds. But it’s an important distinction: diamonds with grading reports from the GIA, IGI, or AGS should be considered as “better” or “more accurately described” than diamonds without such grading reports.
And it goes to the main point of this entire article (which is saving you thousands of dollars, quite literally).
That point is this: Choosing your own diamond for a pendant gets you a better diamond for far less money.
One reason that’s true is: you get a GIA, IGI, or AGS diamond certificate / grading report when you select your own diamond for a pendant. You very likely won’t get a certificate from any of those labs when you buy almost any ready-to-ship diamond pendant.
Baseline **ready-to-ship** best prices for 1-carat diamond pendants.
Click any image, then select according to it, to see the current price.
James Allen ready-to-ship 1-Carat, G-Color, VS-Clarity, no grading report (?!), $7,780
James Allen ready-to-ship 1-Carat, I-Color, SI-Clarity, no grading report (?!), $4,660:
James Allen ready-to-ship 1-Carat, G-Color, VS-Clarity, no grading report (?!). This is a lab-created diamond. Lab created diamonds are 100% authentic, 100% identical to earth-created diamonds. $2,560
Clearly, as my previous article on diamond pendants spelled out detail, that’s the best deal for a ready-to-ship diamond pendant. It’s far less expensive than the lower-quality earth-created diamonds. It has better “scores” (these appear not to be official diamond-grading-lab scores of clarity and color).
But you can do much better by choosing your own diamond! With a diamond that you select yourself, you can get:
- Same or better quality scores for Clarity and Color
- Official grades from a trained gemologist at the GIA, IGI, or AGS, attested in an official certificate / grading report
- Lower price
Head-to-head, **select-your-own** 1-carat diamond pendants WIN BIG in price and quality. No comparison.
Quick note: You’ll see one more spec listed with these diamonds. Cut Quality and why it’s uber important.
“Cut Quality.” It’s listed with these diamonds because it’s such a complex judgment that only a trained gemologist can do it.
You remember how I pointed out that the ready-to-ship diamond pendants have diamonds that seem not to be graded by a trained gemologist working for an unbiased, 3rd-party lab?
Remember how I surmised, based on answers from chat reps, that it’s just a staff member making his/her best judgment?
Well, a staff member at a store might be able to mostly state color and clarity accurately. But a non-gemologist has no hope of judging cut quality accurately. That’s why, in my opinion, most stores, even James Allen or Blue Nile, seem to not state the cut quality of diamonds in their ready-to-ship pendants.
Cut quality is the quality of the proportions, angles, symmetries which result in great light performance. Or poor light performance.
Cut Quality is the single most important quality of a diamond. Especially a Round Brilliant diamond. It literally determines if the diamond will sparkle with brilliance. Or look dull and ugly. It’s far more important than color. It’s way more important than clarity.
An excellent cut diamond can produce so much brilliance that bad color and bad clarity are obscured. But a badly cut diamond will look dull no matter how clear it is. No matter how colorless it is. Makes sense, too: light just isn’t reflected and bent and shattered correctly as it flows through the diamond.
It’s like if you had a badly cut prism. No matter how clear the glass, no matter how colorless the glass, a poorly cut prism is not going to make a rainbow. On the other hand, a well-cut prism, even if it has pits and some yellowing of the glass, will still produce a great rainbow.
Yes I know diamonds aren’t prisms. 😉 But the principle is the same. Light performance is determined by cut quality. Nothing is even nearly as important.
Having Cut Quality judged and certified by a trained gemologist from the GIA, IGI, or AGS is one more huge reason to choose diamonds graded by one of those labs.
James Allen select-your-own-diamond EARTH-CREATED, 1-Carat, G-Color, VS1-Clarity, Excellent Cut Quality, GIA grading report, $5,900
Drag the slider below to compare! Which EARTH-CREATED diamond pendant option do you like better? Easy answer!
James Allen select-your-own-diamond LAB-CREATED, 1-Carat, E-Color, VS1-Clarity, Ideal Cut Quality, IGI grading report, $1,890.
Drag the slider below to compare! Which LAB-CREATED diamond pendant option do you like better? Another easy answer!
The Best Blue Nile select-your-own-diamond pendant offer I found. 1-Carat, G-Color, VS1-Clarity, Ideal Cut Quality, GIA grading report, $6,214.
Blue Nile does not at this time offer Lab-Created diamonds in its select-your-own-diamond inventory. That’s a bummer.
Blue Nile doesn’t right now have any lab-created diamonds in its loose diamonds inventory. That’s too bad.
This means James Allen wins by default.
James Allen wins the lab-created loose-diamond pendant war, EASILY. And, since they edge out Blue Nile in price and selection on earth-created diamond pendants too, James Allen wins overall.
(No one else even competes in this game, in my well-experienced-shopping-opinion. There’s nothing like James Allen’s inventory, service, and prices along a quality curve.
You can google for a competitor if you want to. By all means. You just won’t find it. It’s like you’re looking for an electric car company to compete with Tesla’s value, service, and so on. Doesn’t exist in the case of Tesla or in the case of James Allen. I wish it did. But for now, not there.)
How to get these James Allen deals on select-your-own-diamond pendants
A ready-to-ship diamond pendant is easy to buy. You just add it to your cart and check out.
That’s one reason it’s so expensive. It’s easy to let buyers think, “Oh I’ll just get this instead of sorting through a database of diamonds. I might make a mistake searching. I’ll just do the easy thing.”
But sorting through the database is also easy. It’s just slightly new to you, maybe. Don’t worry. I’ll show you how right now.
Here’s how to find equivalent deals at James Allen. The inventory there is always changing. You won’t find the exact diamonds I picture in these deals.
You will find equivalent diamonds. Easily. The James Allen diamond inventory is over 100,000 strong. Maybe 140,000+ by now? Huge.
Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Choose a pendant setting at this link:
Step 2: Use my customized EARTH-CREATED diamond-search url or LAB-CREATED diamond-search url. (It will select for the diamond grading scores pictured below. You won’t even have to mess with the sliders at James Allen at all. You will find very similar deals to those in the images.)
Conclusion: Choosing your own diamond saves thousands and gets you a certified, BETTER diamond pendant.
I’ve proven it. You’ve seen it. You’re about to save thousands of dollars. You’ve seen that buying a ready-to-ship diamond pendant is a good idea only if you’re in a hurry.
It seemed like crazy talk at first. Or hype-ey talk.
Turns out it’s real: Buying an amazing diamond pendant by choosing your own diamond is not hard. And it costs less money than buying a less-amazing one.
You’ve seen that keeping thousands of dollars in your pocket, while getting a certified, superior diamond, is easy:
- Choose a pendant (see how above)
- Choose a diamond (see how above)
- Get a better diamond for far less money. And feel great. REALLY great.